When a group of local families decided to establish a school in 1859, they settled on a site near present-day Cherokee Lane and Turner Road. In 1869, the Central Pacific Railroad was in the process of creating a new route, and pioneer settlers Ezekiel Lawrence, Reuben Wardrobe, A.C. Ayers and John Magley offered a town site of 160 acres to the railroad as an incentive to build a station there. The railroad received a “railroad reserve” of 12 acres in the middle of town, and surveyors began laying out streets in the area between Washington to Church and Locust to Walnut. Settlers flocked from nearby Woodbridge, Liberty City, and Galt, including town founders John M. Burt and Dan Crist.
Lodi is best known for being a center of wine grape production (the “Zinfandel Capital of the World”), although its vintages have traditionally been less prestigious than those of Sonoma and Napa counties. However, in recent years, the Lodi Appellation has become increasingly respected for its Zinfandel wine and other eclectic varietals. National recognition came from the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Lodi” and continues with the “2015 Wine Region of the Year” award given to Lodi by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Nearby Woodbridge is the home of the well-known winery, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, who grew up in Lodi.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Lodi had a population of 62,134. The population density was 4,494.5 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Lodi was 44,715 (71.9%) White, 517 (0.8%) African American, 560 (0.9%) Native American, 4,293 (6.9%) Asian, 105 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 11,164 (18.0%) from other races, and 2,833 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22,613 persons (36.4%).
There were 23,792 housing units at an average density of 1,721.0 per square mile (664.5/km²), of which 12,091 (54.7%) were owner-occupied, and 10,006 (45.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.2%. 32,153 people (51.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 29,304 people (47.2%) lived in rental housing units.
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